Dinard British Film Festival: Expectations

Oscar and Emmy winner Louise Fletcher has created one of cinema’s greatest female villains in addition to her television roles.

Louise Fletcher, Oscar for best actress for her portrayal of nurse Mildred Ratched, cruel and sadistic administrator of a psychiatric hospital, in Flight over a cuckoo’s nest of Milos Forman, died Friday at the age of 88. Fletcher’s agent, David Shaul, confirmed his death to RollingStoneadding that she is dead ” at her home in France, surrounded by her family. »

Fletcher began his television career in the late 1950s, appearing in popular serials Lawman, maverick and The Incorruptibles. She left the industry for a decade in 1962 to raise her two sons, but returned to acting in the mid-1970s, starring in crime drama We are all thieves by Robert Altman in 1974. Director Milos Forman saw Fletcher in this film and gave him the role of Mildred Ratched in his adaptation of Ken Kesey’s famous 1962 novel.

The film pitted Fletcher against Jack Nicholson’s Randle McMurphy, an inmate who pretends to be mentally ill to avoid hard labor and reside in a mental hospital. ” I was already past the age of being a romantic leadshe told theIndependent in 2016. Pretty soon I’ll be too old to play young and too young to play old “. Forman envisioned the role as ” the personification of evil but told theIndependent after seeing Fletcher in Altman’s film: ” I slowly started to realize that it would be a lot more powerful if she didn’t know she was evil. In fact, she believes she helps people. »

The role won him an Academy Award, a BAFTA Award and a Golden Globe Award and, thanks to Fletcher’s bright and sweet portrayal, the name “Ratched” remains synonymous with cruel characters four decades later. When the American Film Institute named its greatest movie villains, Fletcher’s Ratched came in fifth, behind The Wicked Witch of the West, Darth Vader, Norman Bates and Hannibal Lecter. An original story, Ratcheddeveloped by Ryan Murphy, premiered in 2020 with Sarah Paulson in the title role.

The role became Fletcher’s most indelible, and the actress went on to enjoy varying success in Hollywood in films like The Exorcist II: The Heretic, Flowers in the Attic and Sex Intentions. She received further acclaim during her return to television, where she portrayed religious leader Kai Winn Adami in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Peggy “Grammy” Gallagher in Shamelesswhile winning Emmy Awards in Joan’s World and A funny sheriff.

I wanted them to see a person like we see every day in life: a teacher, a telephone operator, a conductor, a senator or a president, a person who is convinced that he is right and that the thing she does is the best for youLouise Fletcher told the Huffington Post about the character in 2020. And there’s nothing scarier than the old lady next door who has power… She says nice things, but if you upset her, it’s over. You are doomed. »

Many famous actresses were in the running for the role, including Jane Fonda, Ellen Burstyn, Anne Bancroft and Angela Lansbury, but Fletcher was confident. “ A journalist asked me how I felt, after accepting a role that had been rejected, and he named five great actressesshe told HuffPo. And I was really shocked. I don’t know who I thought they were offering it to. I just thought, “That’s my role. It’s mine”. »

Jason Newman

Translated by the editor

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Dinard British Film Festival: Expectations